This was not unexpected. From the NOAA's coral reef watch satellite monitoring shows that Singapore is in the Watch zone. Where we should be prepared for mass coral bleaching.
What is coral bleaching?
Coral are colonies of tiny animals called polyps. Each polyp lives inside a little hard skeleton. The huge colony is made up of the skeletons of countless polyps. Today on Pulau Jong, I only saw one Sandpaper coral and it was bleaching at the tips.
leathery soft corals than I've seen in the past.
I have often seen leathery soft corals 'melt' and break up into smaller pieces. Is this a response to stress? Is this why there seems to be fewer leathery soft corals on Pulau Jong today?Not all the leathery soft corals were bleaching.
Cauliflower corals that were not bleaching. On the other shores I visited, all the colonies I saw were bleaching.
Flowery disk corals I saw were bleaching.
Disk corals were alright, although a few large ones in deeper water were bleaching.
Merulinid corals I saw were also alright, with about 30% completely white and bleaching.
Acropora coral, Pebble coral, Plate montipora coral and Branching montipora coral.
Small goniopora coral and some Anemone coral colonies and they were not bleaching.
Boulder pore coral and Branching pore corals I saw were not bleaching, although there were many that were bleaching or pale or pink.
Asparagus corals and they were all bleaching. I saw one corallimorph cluster that was bleaching, while others were not. Some of the Sea mat zoanthids had bleaching patches.
Frilly anemones I saw were bleaching, the others seemed normal.
The Mama Fluted giant clam is still there and she is fine! Giant clams can also bleach as they too harbour symbiotic algae and rely on them for food. But I couldn't find the other Fluted giant clam we found on our last survey in Apr 2015. Nor the Merten's carpet anemone we saw on that trip too.
Tiger-tailed seahorse! There were many many small Blue-spotted fantail rays and the team spotted a shark.
Three-striped flatworm as well as some Black Phyllid nudibranchs.
Sickle seagrass, with some patches with badly burnt leaf blades.
Dubbed the 'char siew pau' island because of its cute dumpling shape, Pulau Jong has a huge reef flat that is exposed at low spring tide. This reef flat together with the domed island is said to resemble the silhouette of a Chinese sailing junk, thus 'Jong'. Pulau Jong is what all our Southern islands looked like before they were reclaimed. Here's a look at the island as we were leaving today. Let's hope the corals and marine life there make it through the mass coral bleaching.
the existing natural shores that may be impactedby the Land Use Plan following the Population White Paper. Others include Pulau Hantu, Terumbu Pempang Darat, Terumbu Pempang Tengah and Terumbu Semakau.
High res photos of mass coral bleaching in Singapore for free download on wildsingapore flickr
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